foliar feeding

Do you grow cannabis and want to increase your yields? One of the best ways you could increase your chances of receiving exceptional yield is through foliar feeding. You are probably unaware of this technique because most cannabis growers believe that weed plants get all the required nutrients from the roots. 

To a great extent, this is true. Cannabis plants get nourished the same way other plants are: their leaver and roots are the main ways they absorb nutrients and water. Why should you then foliar feed your cannabis plants? You’re simply optimizing the process of nourishment. Foliar feeds are quickly absorbed, thereby enhancing the growth and yield of your cannabis plants. As such, foliar spraying your cannabis is an excellent way of feeding extra nutrients to your marijuana plants. 

Apart from giving extra nutrients to your plants, foliar spraying is a fantastic way of dealing with weed mold and pests using proper fungicide or insecticide products. Now, read on to understand more about this fantastic way of enhancing your productivity.

What is foliar feeding for weed?

Foliar feeding fundamentally means that you spray a liquid mixture straight onto the weed leaves. The combination could be either pesticide or fertilizer. When you spray liquid fertilizer onto the leaves, essential nutrients are provided through the foliage as opposed to roots. Generally, it’s an effective and quick approach to dealing with nutrient deficiencies because compared to roots, the leaves can absorb nutrients much quicker. This approach to nourishing plants became prevalent in the 50s when researchers found that the leaves were the best in terms of efficiency in absorbing nutrients. Although the volumes that leaves can absorb are comparatively small than watering the substrate, their efficiency is higher and could be about 95%.

As stated earlier, foliar spraying also includes applying insecticides or fungicides to curb bugs, diseases, or mold. There isn’t really a big difference between foliar feeding or spraying of nutrients and insecticides or fungicides apart from the reason for using it as well as the frequency you apply the solution. Essentially, both of them are foliar sprays, but one is for feeding your cannabis plants while the other is meant to combat mold, bugs, or diseases.

foliar spray

The benefits of foliar feeding

There are several advantages associated with the proper use of this method. Following are some of the well-known benefits you will derive from foliar feeding your cannabis plants:

  1. It is an easy method to use because it is straightforward
  2. It is an ideal method of applying pesticides, fungicides, bactericides, or insecticides because most pests, insects, bacteria, and fungi are found on leaves.
  3. It allows your weed plants to absorb nutrients more faster and more efficiently.
  4. Foliar feeding your cannabis plants enhances the development of root zone-base microorganisms.
  5. Foliar spraying helps curb salt/nutrient build up in the root zone
  6. Reduces wastage of nutrients because it has better pinpoint accuracy
  7. A regularly scheduled foliar spray for cannabis plants stimulates the stomata, resulting in stronger guard cells
  8. It is an excellent way of addressing nutrient deficiency because it stimulates a quick response in your marijuana plants
  9. It can help reduce stress in your cannabis plants (funny, eh?). Plants get stressed too in the process of ensuring that nutrients reach every inch of the plant. Excessive stress enhances the risk of your weed plants becoming hermaphrodites. It also reduces stress because you will be helping them to get everything they need easily. 
  10. Foliar feeds ease the root’s job. In any weed plant, weeds are the definitive multitaskers. Their basic function is to absorb nutrients from the soil and process them. When you foliar spray your cannabis plants, the plants get better absorption of carbohydrates that feed the microbes that support crops’ functions. 

While foliar feeding has some significant benefits, it should not be used as a substitute for conventional irrigation approaches, but more of an addition to these to achieve optimum growth.

The right time to foliar spray cannabis

After learning the benefits of foliar spraying your weed plants, you must be itching to know the best time to do it. For a start, you should not start using this method on your plants until all the crops get to a vegetative state because trying to spray nutrients before the plants reach the vegetative stage, you risk contaminating your plants’ buds. 

However, there is an exception to this rule. If you notice some nutrient deficiency in your plants, you can foliar feed them. The most common problems at this stage are a deficiency in nitrogen, magnesium, or calcium. All you should do at this stage is just to prepare a small portion of the foliar feed and apply it only once to the affected spot. 

Your weed plants will benefit more from foliar feeds during the vegetative stage. At this stage, your cannabis plants will make better use of the macronutrients given.  

So, what time of the day should you foliar feed your plants?

The time to foliar spray your feeds depends on whether you are growing them outside or indoors.

If you are growing your plants outside, the best time to foliar feed them is during the morning hours before the sun rises. Foliar spraying during these hours is important because it helps prevent the intense sun from burning the leaves. Additionally, it helps your plants to soak up all the sprayed nutrients before the day’s hottest hours, which are associated with excessive evaporation. 

You may also foliar feed your marijuana plants in the evening. However, you should only do this if the climate favors the marijuana plant’s ideal environment. Foliar feeding your weed plants on a cold night is not recommended.

If you grow your cannabis indoors, you may need foliar feed your weed plants immediately before you turn on the lights. This way, the plants absorb the sprayed solution because the lights enhance heating intensity. Nonetheless, you should be mindful of the grow room temperature. It should not exceed 26°C. 

Unlike in an outdoor setting, you should never foliar feed your plants in the evening before you turn off the lights. Your lamps are responsible for regulating much of the temperature in the indoor setup. Leaving your weed plants in the dark is a recipe for disaster.

foliar feeding with hydrogen peroxide

How often you should foliar feed your plants?

It is recommended that you foliar spray your cannabis plants at least once a week. Why? Leaves on the cannabis plants absorb the solution sprayed on them much quicker than they do through the roots. Conventional feeding through the roots takes up to a day to stimulate your plants, while foliar feeding takes much less time. Therefore more regular feeding is recommended.

How do you foliar feed your cannabis plants?

Now that you know the benefits, the time, and frequency of foliar feeding, you need to understand how to carry out the process. Now, once your plants get to the flowering stage, you should not foliar spray your plants because the results can be disastrous, especially during the hot season. You should also know that any nutrient or fertilizer created for the hydroponic or soil systems is appropriate for foliar feeds. In particular, fertilizers with micronutrients or trace elements are perfect for this feeding method. 

However, if your intention is to deal with bugs, mold, and diseases, hydrogen peroxide for plants could help. A slight weakening of hydrogen peroxide and water for use in a foliar spray is an excellent insecticide and fungicide. The best side of this mixture is that it is safe enough to be used on cannabis plants every single day, even on the buds! This mixture can kill an array of pests and insects on contact. It also destroys their eggs. As such, hydrogen peroxide is a must-have in your collection of pest control and prevention.  

Now, before we tell you about the step-by-step process of foliar feeding your marijuana plants, you must have the following tools:

  1. Spray bottle
  2. pH/nutrient meter
  3. pH neutral water
  4. Nutrients or pesticide (hydrogen peroxide)
  5. A container

Once you have all these tools, it is time to foliar spray your plant by following these steps:

  1. Using the container, mix 5ml of hydrogen peroxide or the fertilizer for every one liter of water to develop your spray for the cannabis plants. 
  2. Check the nutrient content and pH of your mixture. A good foliar spray for your weed plants should have a pH level of 5.7. This applies to the nutrients. However, if you are preparing a pesticide solution, the pH level should not be less than 5 and not more than 7. 
  3. Start spraying the solution onto the weed leaves. While spraying, make sure you add a light mist from top to bottom. Do this at least once a week, and you are good to go! However, be careful not to drench your weed plants to drowning them. And of course, never forget the undersides!

Final thought

After learning how to foliar feed your plants, you are now ready for a bigger and better harvest. If you use this method correctly, you will be surprised at how effective foliar feeding is in enhancing your yield. Remember that it should not replace the traditional methods of irrigation and nourishment. Foliar spraying is a supplemental method that cultivators use to introduce protectants into your cannabis plant efficiently and quickly. As you venture into cannabis growing, you should never neglect foliar spraying.

Happy growing!

Joe Musgrave

An avid 420 enthusiast, grower, smoker and writer. Joe writes non stop, sharing his extensive knowledge in the field of cannabis with the wider online 420 community through blogs like ours at High Yield Strains.

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